Befriending the Ex
Yes, we do recommend you get on friendly terms with your spouse’s ex. Aligning yourself with the ex- may help ease the transition in more ways than you realize. Whether the divorce was amicable or ugly, you are in a unique position to act as mediator between the parents.
Consider writing a note or calling the ex to say that you want to talk about better ways to parent your stepchild. During the conversation, try to alleviate his or her fears and discuss your intentions to make your stepchild happy. You may also want to talk about the child’s schedule, likes and dislikes or any important medical or personal information you should be aware of. If the previous marriage ended poorly, the ex may take the opportunity to make harsh criticisms of your spouse in front of you. Try not to respond to these comments. Instead, make every attempt to redirect the conversation back to the children. This will send a message that you don’t want to get involved in the he-said/she-said of the previous marriage but rather move ahead with building a more functional family system.
Once you get more comfortable at home, you may even want to invite the ex over to see the child. That will further put the ex at ease that your intentions are genuine and show the child that you’re not threatened by the parent’s presence.
Extending an olive branch such as this may help protect the child from further conflict and help smooth the way for everyone, including you.